Step by step instructions to purchase the best toaster The Independent
“When it comes to buying a toaster you need to know if it does two things well u2013 does it brown (not burn) your bread? And does it evenly toast each slice, without leaving any patchy, soft sections? These may sound like simple tasks but weu2019ve found it can be tricky to create the perfect piece of toast, especially when some toasters donu2019t fit a whole slice of bread in the toasting slots.
Once you know your potential toaster can do the above (you can find that out using our latest reviews), thereu2019s a range of other settings to pick from. And depending on what your requirements are (do you eat bagels? Store bread in the freezer? Prefer thick or thin slices?), youu2019ll prioritise some settings over others. And the number of extras may also increase the price u2013 toasters can range from u00a310 to u00a3200.
Here we explain the jargon behind toasters and what to look out for when buying. Weu2019ve also included our top toaster reviews to help kick off your search for a new breakfast companion.
What to consider when buying a toaster
Before you part with any cash, make sure you think about the followingu2026
Size: How much free space is there on your kitchen worktop? How big is your family? The answer to these two questions will determine the size of your toaster. They range from two-slice to six-slice models, so if you have a small kitchen go for a smaller model but if you have a large family consider buying a machine with more toasting slots.
Browning control: the elements fitted inside each toasting slot are responsible for browning your bread. So before you buy, take a look inside the slots. The further apart the elements are from each other, the more likely you are to get patchy, uneven pieces of toast.
Power: the more watts (power) your model has, the faster it toasts, although the type of bread will also impact this. The optimum level for two-slice toasters is 1200kW and for four-slice toasters is 1800kW or more.
Energy efficiency: to save energy, itu2019s worth seeing if you can choose how many slots heat up at once. Only using the number of slots needed will make your toaster more efficient and help reduce uneven browning u2013 if youu2019re only toasting one slice of bread but two slots heat up, one side will end up being browner than the other.
Life expectancy: this will vary depending on the quality of the parts in your toaster and how often you clean it. A well-built toaster with high-quality elements – normally on the pricier side – usually has a longer life. Some manufacturers offer a repair service though, so make sure you check your model before you buy. Once itu2019s home, keeping the crumb tray clear will also help prolong its life.
Depending on what you want to toast, there are plenty of extra features to look out for. Here, we explain the most common.
Reheat: if you donu2019t manage to eat your toast before it goes cold or the rest of your fry up isnu2019t quite ready, this function will reheat it, usually on a one minute cycle.
Defrost: ideal for those who freeze their bread. This function will warm bread first then toast it, all in one cycle, so you donu2019t have to change the browning options half way through.
Crumb tray: this captures any loose crumbs during toasting and can be pulled out and emptied. Itu2019s important to keep it clean as otherwise it can limit the life of your toaster.
Cancel: a basic feature which allows you to stop bread from toasting mid-cycle.”